Despite holding a contract with South Sydney that isn't set to expire until the end of next season, conversations about an extension for Cody Walker to remain at Redfern are set to commence in the coming days.
However, given the club's desire not to offer outgoing club champion Adam Reynolds a substantial deal, the procedure ahead of the 2021 runners-up is now far more delicate than initially required.
After only being offered a one-year contract extension to stay with his boyhood club when he was seeking an agreement four-times the length, the 31-year-old Reynolds walked to the Broncos.
But as Walker is in fact six-months older than the tattooed halfback, should a substantial deal be sent the stand-off's way, it is likely to have a ripple effect.
Despite the possibility of uproar from their proud and loud fanbase, South Sydney CEO Blake Solly spoke about the reasons as to why the situation had arisen.
“We would have liked to have kept Adam forever as well but Adam craved that longer term security which was absolutely fair in terms of what he wanted,” the powerbroker was quoted by The Daily Telegraph on Monday night.
Solly then suggested that it would be Walker that would be leading the dance between the pair when negotiations officially began.
“We will sat down with Cody and sort of map out what he wants," he said.
“In some ways we will be guided by Cody, his expectations, and desire.”
Although the deliberations ahead of both parties will need a surgeon's steady hand, Souths have propounded that the Nowra-born Walker is free to stay in cardinal and myrtle until he decides his time is up.
Discussions are set to commence after the completion of the George Piggins Medal awards night set for Thursday night - a prize that Walker is set to snaffle with ease.
“As soon as that is over and done with we will start talking to Cody’s management,” Solly said.
“We will sit down and talk to Wok [Walker's agent, Warwick Wright] and Cody and find out what they want.
“The short answer is we want Cody here for as long as he wants to keep playing."
Solly also raised the notion that while Walker may be meandering into the twilight of a first-grade career that only began at age 25, the five-eighth's wits would see him stay around footy clubs for many years yet.
“Beyond that we see him as not only a wonderful footballer on the field but a really smart football brain off it," he explained.
“There is no doubt there is a coach in the making in there as well when he decides to retire and we want him here for as long as we can keep him here.”
While Walker will enter 2022 without his almost telepathic partner in the middle of the park, the Bunnies will look to deploy either Blake Taaffe or the incoming Anthony Milford alongside the Origin representative.
Earlier this season, Taaffe, 22, inked a deal to stay on with Souths until the end of 2023, while Milford, 27, has a single season to prove his wares with his third NRL club.
Though the club's leading point-scorer would no longer call Sydney's southern suburbs home, Solly signed off by praising Reynolds whilst concurrently turning one of his red and green eyes to the future.
“Adam is going to leave a huge hole on the field and off it,” Solly said.
“He is a wonderful character.
“But at least we have some really strong options there with guys that have shown that they are first graders this year.”
Reynolds and his Broncos have been slated to take on Souths in a Round 1 blockbuster to start next season on March 10.